Global experiments on chemistry
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Global Experiments on Chemistry. Kapil Tripathi Scientist-D VIGYAN PRASAR(DST ). International Year of Chemistry 2011. Year 2011 has been declared as the International Year of Chemistry.

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Global Experiments on Chemistry

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Global experiments on chemistry

Global Experiments on Chemistry




International year of chemistry 2011

International Year of Chemistry 2011

  • Year 2011 has been declared as the International Year of Chemistry.

  • The theme of IYC 2011 is “Chemistry—our life, our future,”. Many interactive, entertaining, and educational activities for all ages related to chemistry is going on worldwide to celebrate this year.

  • The goals of IYC 2011 are to increase the public appreciation of chemistry in meeting world needs, to encourage interest in chemistry among young people, and to generate enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry.

  • One of the main objectives of IYC is also to attract young minds towards the chemistry. For this Global chemistry experiments are being performed by many thousands of school children across the world under the theme, “Water: A Chemical Solution” .

Global experiments on chemistry1

Global experiments on Chemistry

  • School students around the world are exploring one of Earth’s most critical resources, water.

  • The results of their investigations will contribute to a Global Experiment, which will possibly become the biggest chemistry experiment world ever.

  • Water being an important aspect of our life, it is proposed to give a specific focus and hence one of the emphasis would be the ‘Global Experiment – Water a chemical solution’.

  • Students will focus on modules that examine the properties of their local water and the technological solutions. chemistry makes available to humanity in supplying clean drinking water.

  • The aim of the activity is to instil scientific method, remove the myth that ‘chemical’ implies human made and nurture scientific temper to take action for clean drinking water.

Global experiments on chemistry2

Global experiments on Chemistry

VP is creating awareness about Global Experiments among the teachers to perform the

experiments in their schools.

This includes following four experiments:

  • pH of the Planet: Students measure the pH of a local water source and explore the acidity of the water sample.

  • Salty Waters: The salinity of a salty water sample is measured by evaporation.

  • Water: No Dirt, No Germs - A dirty water sample is first clarified with a homemade filter and then disinfected.

  • Solar Still - Students construct and test a solar still, exploring how it works, and then construct a still to their own design.

Ph of the planet

pH of the Planet

  • The activity will allow to students to explore the idea of acidity as it applies to our water supplies using the most common measure of acidity, pH.

  • Students will learn a method of measuring pH and how to check its reliability.

  • In this activity students will collect a water sample from a local natural source.

  • They will measure the pH of the sample using colouredindicator solutions.

  • Based on this they will calculate the average pH value.

Global experiments on chemistry

Measuring pH -The two most common measurements of pH involve using indicators or pH meters.

Indicators are weak acids that are coloured and that change colour when they undergo an acid-base reaction and (formally) lose the H+ ion. The reactions are usually reversible so that the indicator has two molecular forms: the acid and the base:


bromothymol blue → bromothymol blue-


acid form base form

The colour change in indicators usually occurs across a 10-fold change in H3O+ concentration

and socovers a change in pH of one.

pH meters – Instrument which measure the pH using glass electrode. more.

Global experiments on chemistry

Interpreting pH values

  • pH values varies with natural variability due to differing light levels, temperatures and artifacts of the different measuring techniques.

  • Natural variability of freshwater is quite large6.5 and 8.0.

  • Marine waters between 8.1 and 8.4

  • Temperature changes cause changes in the pH of sample solutions

  • (Less variation 20-25oC, bigger variation is to be expected with more extreme temperatures).

  • The geology of the area can also affect the pH of the local water. The presence of limestone can raise the pH considerably. In the case of the oceans, the limestone and other sources of calcium carbonate contribute to the normal ocean pH of 8.3.

Materials required

Materials Required

  • 6 (six) sample containers (white or transparent containers to hold 1 cm depth of liquid).

  • a dropper or pipette

  • a bottle of rinsing water

  • bromothymol blue indicator

  • m-cresol purple indicator

  • colour charts for indicators

  • local water sample from local natural water body



Testing the local water source

  • Label the sample containers 1 – 6 and mark 0.5 cm depth on each container.

  • Take a portion from the local water sample and fill three of the containers up to the mark.

  • Add three drops of bromothymol blue indicator to each container and swirl it to mix the solution thoroughly.

  • Use the colour chart to estimate the pH of each solution and record the result for each container to one decimal place.

  • If the pH of the sample is 7.6 or greater, repeat the test three times using m-cresol purple as the indicator and record the results to one decimal place.

Ph scale

pH scale

Indicator colour chart

Indicator Colour Chart

School results sheet take the record and fill the table with appropriate data

School Results SheetTake the Record and fill the table with appropriate data.

  • Local water source:____________(e.g. Pond, river, canal, water tank)

  • Nature of water:____________________(fresh, salt, marine, etc.)

  • Date sampled:_________________________

  • Temperature:_______________(temp. while measuring the pH)

  • pH of the local water source:_________________________

  • Number of students involved:_________________________

  • Registration Number:_________________________

Experiment 2 salty water

Experiment 2Salty Water

  • Almost all of the water on Earth is in the form of a solution containing dissolved salts.

  • In this activity students are invited to measure the salinity of a sample of salt water.

  • While carrying out the analysis they will learn about the nature of solutions, including the composition of sea water.

Typical concentrations of ions in seawater

Typical Concentrations of Ions in Seawater

Ion g/kg

Chloride Cl-1 19.345

Sodium Na+1 10.752

Sulfate SO4-2 2.701

Magnesium Mg+2 1.295

Calcium Ca+2 0.416

Potassium K+1 0.390

Bicarbonate HCO3-1 0.145

Bromide Br-1 0.066

Borate BO3-3 0.027

Strontium Sr+2 0.013

Fluoride F-10.001

Material required

Material Required

  • Shallow glass or plastic dish or Petri dish (preferably clear to make it easy to see the salt).

  • Cover for the dish that allows air circulation.

  • Graduated measuring cylinder or jug.

  • Balance that can weigh to 0.1 g with the capacity to weigh the dish and water



  • Collect a sample, (at least 100 mL) of seawater or other water with a significant salt content.

  • Weigh the dish as accurately as possible and record the result on the Results Sheet, mD.

  • Measure the volume of about 100 mL of water as precisely as possible and place it in the dish, VW

  • Weight the dish and water together, mD+W.

  • Evaporate the water by one of two methods:

  • EITHER - Solar evaporation: place the dish in full sunlight and, if necessary to prevent dust, cover it with a transparent cover that allows the air to circulate. It may take a day or more to evaporate so monitor it periodically.

  • OR – Hotplate evaporation: Heat a hotplate to about 80oC and place the dish on it. Monitor the process periodically, making sure the water does not boil and splatter



  • Dryness check – carry out this check to ensure the sample is dry. This process is called drying to constant weight.

  • Weigh the dish with the salt and record the result on the Results Sheet.

  • Return the dish to the sunlight, or the hotplate, and leave it for 15-30 minutes.

  • Allow it to cool and reweigh it, recording the result.

  • If the second weight is less than the first, repeat the process once more and record the results.

  • Continue the process until the weight does not change.

  • The final weight is the mass of the dish and salt, mD+S.

Global experiments on chemistry

Calculating salinitymass of salt ms=mD+s-mDmass of saltwater msw=mD+sw-mDabsolute salinity S=ms/mswX1000 (g/kg)

Record the results of your salinity analysis in the following table

Record the results of your salinity analysis in the following table

Experiment 3 water no dirt no germs

Experiment:3Water: No dirt No germs

  • As we celebrate the International Year of Chemistry, waterborne diseases, such as typhoid fever and cholera, have yet to be completely eliminated.

  • Drinking water treatment required :

  • clarification

  • disinfection



Clarification is the process used to remove solid debris from

natural or waste water and involves four steps:

  • Aeration

  • Coagulation

  • Sedimentation

  • Filtration

  • Disinfection



  • 2 liters of “dirty” natural water (or you can add 1 cup of dirt or mud to 2 liters of water)

  • 1 two liter plastic soft drink bottle with its cap (or cork that fits tightly into the neck).

  • 2 two liter plastic soft drink bottles, one with its bottom cut off to use as a funnel and one

  • with the top cut off to use for sedimentation.

  • 1 large beaker (with a volume of 500 ml, or 2 cups) or measuring bowl that will hold the

  • inverted two liter bottle or you can use another two liter plastic soft drink bottle with its top

  • cut off so the other bottle will fit inside of it.

  • 2 tablespoons of alum

  • 1½ cups fine sand

  • 1½ cups coarse sand

  • 1 cup small pebbles

  • 1 coffee filter

  • 1 rubber band

  • 1 tablespoon for the alum

  • 1 large spoon

  • A clock with a second hand or a stopwatch

Procedure for water clarification

Procedure for water clarification

Material for water disinfection

Material for Water Disinfection

  • Liquid laundry bleach (sodium hypochlorite)

  • About 10 chlorine test strips

  • One eye/medicine dropper or disposable pipette

  • One large spoon

  • A clock with a second hand or a stopwatch

Observation sheet

Observation Sheet

  • Water Clarification

Water disinfection

Water Disinfection

(use 500 mL of your filtered water for this activity).

Experiment 4 solar still

Experiment 4Solar Still

  • In this activity students will make a solar still and measure its efficiency. They will develop their understanding of water in liquid and gaseous states and how distillation can be used to purify water.

  • They will be challenged to design and make a more efficient still.

Building a solar still

Building a Solar Still

How the still works

How the still works

  • As the water in the still warms, increasing amounts of water evaporate into the air. This water condenses on cool surfaces including the plastic film, turning back into a liquid. As the liquid condenses on the film it collects into droplets that run down the film to the pebble and then fall into the cup.

  • The purification works because both the salt and the food dyes do not evaporate.



  • Large metal or plastic bowl

  • Small, shallow glass or cup (clean)

  • Measuring jug or cylinder

  • Cling film (wider than the bowl)

  • Small stone (pebble)

  • Hot water

  • Food dye and salt

Design challenge

Design challenge

Calculate the percentage of water that was purified

Calculate the percentage of water that was purified

% water purified = volume collected X 100

Volume added to still

Result sheet

Result Sheet

  • Record your result and calculate the percentage of the water purified.

Global experiments on chemistry


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